So… there’s a topic that’s a common theme in the conversations I have with almost every client or potential client. They wonder if they’ve left it too late to change career. It’s something I know well. I experienced it myself during the many years I spent feeling unsatisfied in my career.
What’s really interesting about this question (or versions of this question) is that it’s common with every age group. From those in their 20’s to their 60’s.
Yes, even in the very early years of a career, you can fall into the trap of thinking you’re too invested in the path you’ve chosen. Or you’re stuck because you don’t know how to do anything else.
My mind genuinely boggles when I think about this now. But I know it’s a fact because I was in that place almost (gulp!) two decades ago when I first realised I wanted to get off the corporate carousel.
I took a career break. I tried to work out what else I could do. But after a few months floundering around, I jumped back into another version of what I’d left. Yes, it was the easiest option, but I also truly believed I couldn’t do anything else.
Is it ever too late to change careers?
The thing is… we’re fitter, healthier and living longer than previous generations. It stands to reason we’ll end up working longer as well… either by choice or by necessity (hello increasing interest rates!).
So, do you really want to spend considerable portions of your working life just going through the motions? Eventually for me, I knew I couldn’t stand it any more and I had to make a change.
Like many things, the answer to this question is going to be different for everyone and based on individual circumstances. Your appetite for risk, how adaptable you are, and your commitment to making a change.
I’m not going to insult your intelligence, making a change, especially a significant change can be very hard work. It isn’t easy. But, once you’re on the other side of it, you’ll wonder what took you so long to get started.
If you’re unhappy, dissatisfied or bored with where you are today, think about this. Will you wake up this time next year, or the year after, or in 10 years and regret not having discovered what you’re truly capable of?
If the answer to this is “yes”, then it’s time for you to stop using “it’s too late” as an excuse and just get started.
Why it’s not too late to make a career change
1. THINGS HAVE CHANGED
If you’re 10 or more years into your career, it’s likely the landscape is very different to when you started. New technology, new ways of working and new industries present a plethora of new opportunities. Something that was an impossibility, even in the recent past, might now be a real and achievable option. If you have a specific interest, it’s worth revisiting to understand the current landscape.
2. EXPAND YOUR HORIZON
If you’ve been in the role, organisation or industry for a while, it’s likely you’ve put your career plan on autopilot. Yes, you’re working hard and seeing rewards… but what’s the point in being promoted into more senior roles you don’t love? When you challenge yourself, you expand your mind through learning and growth. Even if you’re not up for a wholesale career change, just getting out of your comfort zone with a new project or different type of role can be enough to stir things up.
3. YOU DESERVE TO BE HAPPY
You’ve worked hard, you’ve been committed and loyal, and there might be some fantastic benefits associated with your current role. But overwork, anxiety, constantly high expectations, feeling vulnerable and stress should not be part of that equation. You’re a valuable asset with a unique and important set of skills and strengths. You deserve to feel valued, satisfied and respected in your workplace for the contribution you make.
4. ECONOMIC CIRCUMSTANCES
I’ve been a broken record on this recently but I feel it’s so important to know. There hasn’t been a better time in the last three decades if you want to change your career. Why? For the first time in a VERY long time, employees hold all the power. Rather than being one amongst hundreds of applicants for a role, you’re far more likely to be the outstanding talent among a small handful. Right now… this is your time.
5. YOU’VE CHANGED
Yes, you have. You’re not the same person who started your career however many years ago it was. You’ve matured, had new experiences, taken on commitments, and learned stuff. The things that meant the most to you, that you valued the most, back then have almost certainly changed. Taking the time to review your values and check your working life is still aligned provides the double whammy effect of increasing your self-confidence and boosting your motivation.
If you want a career change but think you’ve left it too late, you might be surprised to discover what’s possible. If making a career change is on your mind but you’re not sure where to start, I’d love to help you work it out.